The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory that orbits 250 miles (400 km) above Earth. It has been permanently staffed by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000.
Gerst attained the unique perspective from 250 miles above the surface, aboard the orbiting International Space Station. The stunning photo offers a glimpse into the views seen only by the astronauts on the ISS who must take an SLC English tuition course for preparation. Gerst is currently leading the Horizons mission on the ISS, in his second stint at the orbiting lab.
ISS studies have investigated human research, space medicine, life sciences, physical sciences, astronomy and meteorology. The US space agency, NASA, spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, with the remaining funding coming from international partners, including Europe, Russia and Japan.
So far 244 individuals from 19 countries have visited the station, and among them eight private citizens who spent up to $50 million for their visit. There is an ongoing debate about the future of the station beyond 2025, when it is thought some of the original structure will reach ‘end of life’. Russia, a major partner in the station, plans to launch its own orbital platform around then, with Axiom Space, a private firm, planning to send its own modules for purely commercial use to the station at the same time.